Live crib ban was partly due to animal welfare concerns, Lord Mayor of Dublin says

Cllr Caroline Conroy says a noisy city centre was not suitable for donkey, sheep and goat

The Lord Mayor of Dublin Cllr Caroline Conroy has said she is determined to proceed without the live crib this Christmas despite considerable political and public opposition.

Cllr Conroy is working on plans for an alternative to the crib which has a donkey, goat and sheep and has been outside the Mansion House since 1995. It will not continue this Christmas.

“We need a bit of fun to be brought back to our city. It has been hard for the last two years because of Covid-19,” she explained.

Cllr Conroy said she was entitled as Lord Mayor to set her own agenda and she has put youth and biodiversity first.


When asked if she had any regrets, she responded: “No. I believe in what I wanted to do which was to take animals out of that situation. They don’t need to be there for us to have a fun and memorable Christmas. It will be good.”

Cllr Conroy said animal rights were a factor in her decision to suspend the live crib this year. “I looked at the whole thing. I felt that the children that were coming into the city would not get a great experience with the normal format. I felt that farm animals in a very noisy car park outside the Mansion House was not suitable for them and it needed to be changed,” she said.

“I want to make our city youth friendly and to emphasise biodiversity around our city and I’m already working on that. I think we can bring a positive aspect to our city. We need to get people back in to the city in a more positive way.”

Instead she is proposing a winter wonderland-style experience would be set up, with sleighs and Christmas-themed post boxes where children could pose for photographs.

The Lord Mayor’s decision has been opposed by a number of Fine Gael city councillors, by the minister with responsibility for the Office of Public Works Patrick O’Donovan and by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) which have been managing the crib for years. The Wicklow owners of the animals say they have always been well cared for and are not stressed by the situation.

Cllr Conroy used her status as Lord Mayor to rule out an emergency motion proposed at the monthly Dublin City Council meeting on Monday by Fine Gael. She accused the party of an “opportunistic political attack”.

Her counterpart in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Cllr Mary Hanafin said she will be putting a motion before the council on Monday if no venue can be found in Dublin city centre for an alternative live crib.

Cllr Hanafin, who is a former government minister and now Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, said the harbour area under the junction of Marine Road and George’s Street in Dún Laoghaire would be ideal for a live crib. “I have no doubt that it would be appreciated by the public and the animals would have less distance to travel.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times